Cute But Deadly

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They're cute, but beware sleepless nights

I'm tired today play chums. I can barely lift my tired eyelids, and tapping my keyboard is a feat nearing biblical proportions, in my weary state. I am suffering from fevered dreams that allow me only a few fitful moments of sleep.

The dreams are the same every night – must break down the wall, get more reds, reds are strong. Oh no, they're falling in the water, drowning, only blues can swim. Must grow more before sundown and leave to flower. Do better tomorrow.

I am of course a victim of Pikmin. Play this game and forget all your ridiculous notions of independent thought – your mind will belong to Pikmin. Miyamoto has managed to recreate the Borg in a cute, adorable and primary colored package. Without an ounce of malicious intent, on their part, once you meet them your mind becomes part of the Pikmin collective. Resistance is futile; you will not be able to switch off once you've pulled your first Pikmin up out of the beautifully rendered ground.

Now don't go mistaking me for one of these Nintendo fanboys (I'm using that in a gender-non-specific way so lose the puzzled look) or those people who hang on Miyamoto's every pixel. Far from it, I'm one of those people who scoffs and guffaws in the general direction of those listed above. And before you go hassling me with why Nintendo rocks and everything else sucks, I'm not denying its value, it just doesn't give me wet dreams is all I'm saying. All bodily fluids (that includes tears, sweat and saliva) remain under control at the mention of Nintendo or said gaming genius type guy.

Anyway, as I was saying, I'm not one of those slavering types and so didn't count the days until the launch of GameCube. Frankly, the whole GC thing has left me less than impressed so far. That is until my mind was infiltrated by Pikmin. Here is the dinkiest, most compact, cute and perfectly designed console out – I mean, come on people the thing has a handle and weighs less than a sack of house bricks! And as if that's not enough, even the games come on teenie, weenie disks. Pop Pikmin's diminutive disk in and out pops the teenie, weenie, cuter than cute Pikmin themselves. A game more suited to its console I've yet to see.

I imagine there are hoards of gamers dragging leaden feet and blinking through tired, bloodshot eyes as I write these very words. Pikmin is the new Tetris – a sublimely simple concept that leaves your mind whirring and ticking over, long after the console has been switched off. This is an intensely irritating trait (I don't function well on sleep deprivation) but unfortunately a sign of a good game. And we all know how much I like them.

All we need now is Pikmin on GBA. Then infiltration would be complete. What joy, to have the little critters with me wherever I go. Nintendo need to seriously consider this as a means of minimizing people bunking off work for a fix and the consequently debilitating effect it could have on the global economy. We live in hope.

At their most Borg, Pikmin can be disturbingly efficient at dealing with their enemies. But then, after the job is done, they whoop and waggle their little flowers and leaves and they're all cute and stuff again. You smile and sigh and set them on the next poor unsuspecting beetle thing.

Then there's the issue of Pikmin death. Thankfully it's done with little drama, just a simple Pikmin ghost and a squeak drifting off to the afterlife. Thank Miyamoto (or God to all you fanboys) that we don't have to deal with old decrepit Pikmin with withering flowers, dropping petals and stuff. That would be too much to bear. Planet Pikmin is a happy, shiny place – hooray! Regeneration is the name of the game. They even have the good grace to leave behind more Pikmin seeds when they die; meaning the blow is softened even more and we are left to enjoy a blissful gaming experience.

There are of course those amongst us, the callous and heartless ones, who see the Pikmin as expendable (Konami Boy, you'll rue the day, mark my words). Now to get in a bit of sleep before the next crop.

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